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5 Questions with Gaspar Noé and Karl Glusman of Love 3D

We had an idea that the interview was going well when director Gaspar Noé, discussing the typography of the film Love, which is in 3D and opens Friday, November 13th at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, says “I like the O in the centre, the V is a bit vaginal, the E can seem like two tits, and the L can be like an erect penis”.

The conversation moved on to the origin of the word Love, with Noé suddenly asked the question of where the word comes from (in fact, from the Old English lufu, which means ‘love’, but also ‘affection and friendship’). We sat down with the Argentian-born and Parisian director at the downtown Toronto hotel that was the official place to be for all things Français during TIFF, where the film had its North American premiere. We also spoke with lead actor Karl Glusman, who plays Murphy. The pair made lively conversation and tended to be as inquisitive as almost any interviewees and both were clearly moved by the previous night’s screening of Love.

Scene Creek: What is interesting about showing the film at TIFF?

Karl Glusman: Last night was one of the more enjoyable times I had watching (the film) because people were laughing. I think the movie’s really funny. I think people don’t expect that, and they don’t really know how to react. I think people expect something very raunchy and dirty, and then they get something which is much more tasteful and heartfelt and sentimental…I loved the reaction last night. It’s really nice when somebody gets something out of it. It’s just…it kinds of hurts a little bit when someone wants to bash something in five seconds. We wanted to make something that people could relate to and I think many people relate to a story like this. We all make mistakes and nobody’s perfect. We all have regrets and hopefully we don’t end up like Murphy, living a life of regret. I hope that people get something out of it when they see it.

Gaspar Noé: Last night was the first time I saw the movie on a big screen with an audience without subtitles. Each time I would watch the movie, it would have subtitles floating on the screen, which is kind of annoying when it goes through the movie and it makes people believe that the space is kind of real, like subtitles disconnect you emotionally with what you’re feeling. Its like the difference between having real sex and fake sex.

Karl Glusman: I liked how much everybody laughed at this movie, because my character really at times is a total idiot. The things that come out of his mouth are so stupid.

Scene Creek: Karl, how did you first get involved?

Karl Glusman: I moved to California because Roland Emmerich told me to, I am also in a movie showing here called Stonewall. Then I moved to California, and almost immediately got in touch with him, Gaspar, (motions to Noé), He called me on Skype because a friend of his had recommended me to him for this movie and then pretty soon I got to Paris, to go dancing with him and just kind of hung out. He’s a great dancer, by the way. He doesn’t look like it, but looks can be deceiving. He’s like a jungle monkey. I last saw him dance at Cannes, (laughing) he was…all…over…the…place. He was sleeping and then waking up and then partying until 8, 10 in the morning. I tend to go to bed much earlier in comparison. I feel like an old man. He’s like a 16 year old boy.

Scene Creek: Why was it different not showing Love at midnight?

Gaspar Noé: Because the movie premièred at midnight at Cannes, people thought that it was more extreme than Irréversible or anything that I had ever done, and in fact, it’s not. Its very melancholy, very sentimental. They all got excited (initially) that they would see a movie like Caligula or something like that from the beginning to the end. Irréversible, in fact, is extremely violent, but all the violence is fake in it. The film was forbidden for people under sixteen years old. This movie was forbidden for under eighteen, like this movie was more shocking than Irréversible, while this one has no violence at all.

Scene Creek: Why do you think that is the case?

Gaspar Noé: I think people are more afraid of images of desire than images of violence or fear. People like to show their penis, especially if they are in power, but they don’t like to see somebody else’s penis, especially if it is erect because the power class doesn’t want their women to get excited by lower men. It’s not a concious thing, it is a more abstract thing. When you try to think of other movies that are related to my movie that depict the mental state of being in love, there are not so many. Nothing really portrays in cinema what is the essence of most people’s lives even what was called the erotic film genre has disappeared. Now you can rarely find sexy images that are linked to life, girls with pubic hair with old men, kissing in a loving way. The essence of life is not portrayed but the essence of fear is portrayed every day. We are in a very frustrated society.

Scene Creek: So what is next for you?

Karl Glusman: I want to travel and I am drawn to guys like Gaspar and Nicholas Winding Refn, Tom Ford, because they’re worldly. I want to get out there, I want to explore, I want to experience the world as much as possible, and I think if you can work and travel, then that’s the dream. I just shot this movie The Neon Demon (which is set to be released by Amazon Studios) in L.A. followed by Nocturnal Animals (directed by Tom Ford and starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal), which also shoots in Los Angeles, which I’ve heard is rare. I’m new to this, so I’m just learning it now.

Love 3D opens Friday, November 13th, at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.